FDA Statement On Misguided Interpretations of Opiate Prescribing Guidelines

FDA identifies harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and requires label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering

Safety Announcement

[4-9-2019] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of serious harm in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines suddenly having these medicines discontinued or the dose rapidly decreased. These include serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, psychological distress, and suicide.

While we continue to track this safety concern as part of our ongoing monitoring of risks associated with opioid pain medicines, we are requiring changes to the prescribing information for these medicines that are intended for use in the outpatient setting. These changes will provide expanded guidance to health care professionals on how to safely decrease the dose in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines when the dose is to be decreased or the medicine is to be discontinued.

Rapid discontinuation can result in uncontrolled pain or withdrawal symptoms. In turn, these symptoms can lead patients to seek other sources of opioid pain medicines, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse. Patients may attempt to treat their pain or withdrawal symptoms with illicit opioids, such as heroin, and other substances.

Opioids are a class of powerful prescription medicines that are used to manage pain when other treatments and medicines cannot be taken or are not able to provide enough pain relief. They have serious risks, including abuse, addiction, overdose, and death. Examples of common opioids include codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, and oxymorphone.

Health care professionals should not abruptly discontinue opioids in a patient who is physically dependent. When you and your patient have agreed to taper the dose of opioid analgesic, consider a variety of factors, including the dose of the drug, the duration of treatment, the type of pain being treated, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. No standard opioid tapering schedule exists that is suitable for all patients. Create a patient-specific plan to gradually taper the dose of the opioid and ensure ongoing monitoring and support, as needed, to avoid serious withdrawal symptoms, worsening of the patient’s pain, or psychological distress (For tapering and additional recommendations, see Additional Information for Health Care Professionals).

Patients taking opioid pain medicines long-term should not suddenly stop taking your medicine without first discussing with your health care professional a plan for how to slowly decrease the dose of the opioid and continue to manage your pain. Even when the opioid dose is decreased gradually, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal (See Additional Information for Patients). Contact your health care professional if you experience increased pain, withdrawal symptoms, changes in your mood, or thoughts of suicide.

We are continuing to monitor this safety concern and will update the public if we have new information. Because we are constantly monitoring the safety of opioid pain medicines, we are also including new prescribing information on other side effects including central sleep apnea and drug interactions. We are also updating information on proper storage and disposal of these medicines that is currently available on our Disposal of Unused Medicines webpage.

To help FDA track safety issues with medicines, we urge patients and health care professionals to report side effects involving opioids or other medicines to the FDA MedWatch program, using the information in the “Contact FDA” box at the bottom of the page.

Additional Information for Patients

• If you are taking opioid pain medicines long-term, do not suddenly stop taking your medicine without first discussing with your health care professional a plan for gradually getting off the medicine. Stopping opioids abruptly or reducing the dose too quickly can result in serious problems, including withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, and thoughts of suicide.

• Even when the opioid dose is decreased gradually, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal such as:
– Restlessness – Sweating
– Eye tearing – Chills
– Runny nose – Muscle aches
– Yawning
• Other symptoms also may develop, including:
– Irritability – Loss of appetite
– Anxiety – Nausea
– Difficulty sleeping – Vomiting
– Backache – Diarrhea
– Joint pain – Increased blood pressure or heart rate
– Weakness – Increased breathing rate
– Abdominal cramp

• Contact your health care professional if you experience increased pain, withdrawal symptoms, changes in your mood, or thoughts of suicide. Also contact them if you have any questions or concerns.

• To help FDA track safety issues with medicines, report side effects from opioids or other medicines to the FDA MedWatch program, using the information in the “Contact FDA” box at the bottom of this page.

Additional Information for Health Care Professionals

• Do not abruptly discontinue opioid analgesics in patients physically dependent on opioids. Counsel patients not to discontinue their opioids without first discussing the need for a gradual tapering regimen.

• Abrupt or inappropriately rapid discontinuation of opioids in patients who are physically dependent has been associated with serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, and suicide. Abrupt or rapid discontinuation has also been associated with attempts to find other sources of opioid analgesics, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse. Patients may also attempt to treat their pain or withdrawal symptoms with illicit opioids, such as heroin, and other substances.

• It is important to ensure ongoing care of the patient and to agree on an appropriate tapering schedule and follow-up plan so that patient and provider goals and expectations are clear and realistic.

• When deciding how to discontinue or decrease therapy in an opioid-dependent patient, consider a variety of factors, including the dose of the opioid analgesic the patient has been taking, the duration of treatment, the type of pain being treated, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient.

• There are no standard opioid tapering schedules that are suitable for all patients. A patient-specific plan should be used to taper the dose of the opioid gradually.

• In general, for patients who are physically dependent on opioids, taper by an increment of no more than 10 percent to 25 percent every 2 to 4 weeks. It may be necessary to provide the patient with lower dosage strengths to accomplish a successful taper.

• If the patient is experiencing increased pain or serious withdrawal symptoms, it may be necessary to pause the taper for a period of time, raise the opioid analgesic to the previous dose, and then once stable, proceed with a more gradual taper.

• When managing patients taking opioid analgesics, particularly those who have been treated for a long duration and/or with high doses for chronic pain, ensure that a multimodal approach to pain management, including mental health support (if needed), is in place prior to initiating an opioid analgesic taper. A multimodal approach to pain management may optimize the treatment of chronic pain, as well as assist with the successful tapering of the opioid analgesic.

• Patients who have been taking opioids for shorter time periods may tolerate a more rapid taper.

• Frequent follow-up with patients is important. Reassess the patient regularly to manage pain and withdrawal symptoms that emerge. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

– Restlessness – Perspiration
– Lacrimation – Chills
– Rhinorrhea – Myalgia
– Yawning – Mydriasis

• Other symptoms also may develop, including:

– Irritability – Anorexia
– Anxiety – Nausea
– Insomnia – Vomiting
– Backache – Diarrhea
– Joint pain – Increased blood pressure or heart rate
– Weakness – Increased respiratory rate
– Abdominal cramps

• Patients should also be monitored for suicidal thoughts, use of other substances, or any changes in mood.

• When opioid analgesics are being discontinued due to a suspected substance use disorder, evaluate and treat the patient, or refer him/her for evaluation and treatment of the substance use disorder. Treatment should include evidence-based approaches such as medication assisted treatment of opioid use disorder. Complex patients with comorbid pain and substance use disorders may benefit from referral to a specialist.

• To help FDA track safety issues with medicines, report adverse events involving opioids or other medicines to the FDA MedWatch program, using the information in the “Contact FDA” box at the bottom of this page.

Related Information
Opioid Medications
Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
The FDA’s Drug Review Process: Ensuring Drugs Are Safe and Effective
Think It Through: Managing the Benefits and Risks of Medicines

CDC Joins FDA In Correcting Opiate Guidelines Mandating Abrupt Dosage Reduction

[SEE: “Doctors have told patients that they have to take them off opioids because it’s the law.”—“They’re lying.”]

Seeking to Clarify Its Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, CDC Joins FDA in Decrying ‘Mandated or Abrupt Dose Reduction’

The CDC’s advice has been widely interpreted as requiring involuntary tapering of medication so it does not exceed an arbitrary threshold.

Acknowledging the suffering caused by “misinterpretation” of the opioid prescribing guidelines it published in 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday sought to clarify that it never recommended imposing involuntary dose reductions on chronic pain patients. In a letter to physicians who had objected to that widespread practice, CDC Director Robert Redfield emphasized that his agency “does not endorse mandated or abrupt dose reduction or discontinuation, as these actions can result in patient harm.” Redfield described several steps the CDC is taking to research the impact of its guidelines and correct misunderstandings that have led to abrupt withdrawal, undertreated pain, denial of care, and in some cases suicide.

“I have seen many patients harmed by widespread misapplication of the Guideline,” said Stefan Kertesz, a University of Alabama at Birmingham pain and addiction specialist who helped organize a March 6 letter on the subject that was signed by hundreds of health professionals. Kertesz welcomed the CDC’s response, which came the same day that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the risks of involuntary or fast opioid tapering.

“Bravo CDC and FDA!” Kertesz wrote on Twitter, calling it “a great day for patients with pain,” since “two federal agencies have spoken forcefully AGAINST mandated or precipitous #opioid reductions in chronic pain patients.” Sally Satel, a Washington, D.C., psychiatrist who worked with Kertesz on the letter to the CDC, said, “We are so grateful to the CDC for its essential clarification.”

The CDC’s guidelines, which were intended for primary care physicians, said doctors “should avoid increasing dosage” above 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per day, or at least “carefully justify a decision to titrate dosage” above that level. But the CDC did not say that patients who were already taking daily doses higher than 90 MME, many of whom have been functioning well for years, should be forced below that threshold. Instead it said “clinicians should work with patients to reduce opioid dosage or to discontinue opioids” if they determine that the risks outweigh the benefits.

“The recommendation on high-dose prescribing focuses on initiation,” Redfield writes. “The Guideline includes recommendations for clinicians to work with patients to taper or reduce dosage only when patient harm outweighs patient benefit of opioid therapy.” Furthermore, “the Guideline also recommends that the plan be based on the patient’s goals and concerns and that tapering be slow enough to minimize opioid withdrawal, e.g., 10 percent a week or 10 percent a month for patients who have been on high-dose opioids for years.”

In its “safety announcement” yesterday, the FDA said it had “received reports of serious harm in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines suddenly having these medicines discontinued or the dose rapidly decreased.” It said the consequences “include serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, psychological distress, and suicide.”

Redfield said the CDC is communicating with providers and health systems to “clarify the content” of its advice, to “emphasize the importance of developing policies consistent with the Guideline’s intent,” and to “highlight recommendations within the Guideline, including tapering guidance, options for non-opioid treatments for chronic pain, and communicating with patients.” The CDC is also conducting “systematic reviews of the scientific literature that has been published since the Guideline was released” and sponsoring “four extramural research projects that are examining unintended consequences of tapering and discontinuation.”

The March 6 letter to the CDC included reports from hundreds of patients who have experienced those consequences. “Undertreated pain is killing me!” wrote a Syracuse, New York, patient with osteoarthritis and tethered spinal cord syndrome. “You don’t know me, you don’t walk in my shoes, you don’t have my nerve damage, and you don’t have to live with the thought of will today be the day that I kill myself because I can’t take the pain anymore,” said a patient in Washington, D.C.

“I am experiencing ridiculous effects from the CDC document as my doctors, including pain management specialists, are going to great lengths to deny my access to any kind of opioid,” wrote a patient in Albany, California. “I’ll probably be getting liver failure from taking so much Tylenol. This policy is just cruel. Every patient is an individual and should be treated with care and respect so they can live a functional life—and not given inappropriate or ineffective medication.”

A patient in Little River, South Carolina, who suffers from chronic pain caused by failed back surgery, fibromyalgia, and Sjogren’s syndrome, an immune system disorder, said she has “a kind wonderful pain doctor” who “can’t give me enough medicine to control my pain” because of the way the CDC’s guidelines have been interpreted. A patient with multiple painful conditions, including “sciatica, severe stenosis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, cervical disc degeneration, three bulging discs, two failed spinal fusions that left me with severe nerve damage, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, neuropathy, [and] radiculopathy,” said she had been “abandoned” by her doctor even though she had been on “the same stable high dose” for six years.

Acknowledging the “personal testimonies from patients across the country,” Redfield said, “We agree that patients suffering from chronic pain deserve safe and effective pain management. CDC is committed to addressing the needs of patients living with chronic pain while reducing the risk of opioid-related misuse, overdose, and death.”

Sudanese President Removed In Army Coup, Then Coup Leader Resigns?

Al-Bashir Arrested, State of Emergency Declared in Sudan

Sudan’s military has announced that long time president Omar al Bashir has been arrested and taken to a safe place.

Sudan coup leader Awad Ibn Auf steps down

Ibn OufImage copyrightAFP
Mr Ibn Auf quit a day after becoming military council chief

 

The head of Sudan’s military council has stood down a day after leading a coup that toppled long-time leader Omar al-Bashir amid a wave of protests.

Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf announced his decision on state TV, naming as his successor Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan.

The army has said it will stay in power for two years, followed by elections.

But protest leaders say they will not leave the streets until the military hands over to a civilian government.

Mr Bashir’s downfall followed months of unrest that began in December over rising prices.

Mr Ibn Auf was head of military intelligence during the Darfur conflict in the 2000s. The US imposed sanctions on him in 2007.

Presentational white space

The new man in charge is also a top military figure, but the Associated Press news agency reports that his record is cleaner than other Sudanese generals. He is also said to have met with protesters to hear their views.

Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan talks to demonstrators in Khartoum, 12 AprilImage copyrightAFP
Image captionLt-Gen Burhan could be seen talking to demonstrators on Friday

 

Egypt Withdraws Largest Arab Military Force From Trump/Saudi “Arab NATO” Scheme

Egypt withdraws from US-led anti-Iran security initiative: sources

 

 

Egypt has pulled out of the US effort to forge an “Arab NATO” with key Arab allies, according to four sources familiar with the decision, in a blow to the Trump administration’s strategy to contain Iranian power.

Egypt conveyed its decision to the United States and other participants in the proposed Middle East Security Alliance, or MESA, ahead of a meeting held Sunday in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, one source said.

Cairo did not send a delegation to the meeting, the latest gathering held to advance the US-led effort to bind Sunni Muslim Arab allies into a security, political and economic pact to counter Shi’ite Iran, the source said.

Egypt withdrew because it doubted the seriousness of the initiative, had yet to see a formal blueprint laying it out, and because of the danger that the plan would increase tensions with Iran, said an Arab source who, like the others, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Uncertainty about whether US President Donald Trump will win a second term next year and whether a successor may ditch the initiative also contributed to the Egyptian decision, the Arab source said.

“It’s not moving well,” a Saudi source said of the initiative.

The initiative, which Saudi Arabia first proposed in 2017, also is aimed at limiting the growing regional influence of Russia and China, according to a classified White House document reviewed by Reuters last year.

The Egyptian Embassy in Washington and the White House did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

In addition to the United States and Saudi Arabia, the MESA participants include the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Jordan.

Two days after the Riyadh meeting, Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited Washington for talks with Trump. Before the meeting, Trump said they would talk about security issues, but it was not clear whether they discussed MESA issue.

Two sources said the countries remaining in MESA were moving ahead with the initiative and would press Egypt diplomatically to revoke its withdrawal, with one saying that the decision did not appear to be final.

“We all want them back,” said the other source.

The Arab source, however, said Cairo could not be convinced to return.

The withdrawal of Egypt, which has the Arab world’s largest military, is the latest setback to the MESA initiative, informally referred to as the “Arab NATO.”

The plan already was complicated by international outrage over the October 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which Turkish officials and some U.S. lawmakers have accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering. Riyadh denies the allegation against Salman.

Other obstacles have been feuds among the Arab allies, especially a Saudi-led economic and political boycott of Qatar.

The problems have forced several postponements of a summit meeting in the United States at which a preliminary accord on the alliance would be signed.

John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, has been a key proponent of the MESA plan and an architect of the administration’s strategy for containing Iran, according to U.S. officials.

US Forces Remain Above the Law As They Construct the Global American Empire

‘Major international victory’: Trump cheers ICC decision not to probe US atrocities

‘Major international victory’: Trump cheers ICC decision not to probe US atrocities
After the International Criminal Court (ICC) declined to investigate claims of US atrocities in Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump cheered the decision but said the ICC was “illegitimate” and US and allies beyond its reach.

“This is a major international victory, not only for these patriots, but for the rule of law,” the White House said in a statement, referring to the ICC decision to reject the request to investigate the actions of US military and intelligence officials in Afghanistan.

The US “holds American citizens to the highest legal and ethical standards,” and has consistently refused to join the ICC because of its “broad, unaccountable prosecutorial powers,” threats to US sovereignty, and “and other deficiencies that render it illegitimate,” Trump said in a statement.

Any attempt to target American, Israeli, or allied personnel for prosecution will be met with a swift and vigorous response.

Last week, Washington canceled the entry visa of ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, saying that anyone who dared investigate US military or intelligence personnel would face the same fate. The Gambian lawyer had been conducting a preliminary investigation into claims of torture, cruelty and sexual assault by US and allied personnel in Afghanistan, dating to 2003-2004.

Bensouda had found a “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan,” and was reportedly planning to open a formal investigation.

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Mask is off’: US shifts to open coercion & manipulation against ICC, analysts tell RT

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Bensouda last month to “change course” or face US sanctions, however, declaring that the US was determined to protect its troops and civilians from “living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation.”

While Washington has pushed for the creation of ad-hoc international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR), the US voted against the establishment of the ICC in 1998, and has refused to join or submit to its authority after the court was officially created in 2002.

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Historic moment to bring end to colonialism’: UN court says UK illegally occupied Chagos Islands

The US has held itself above international law for decades. In 1986, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that Washington had violated international law by supporting the Contras in Nicaragua. The US refused to participate in the proceedings and blocked the enforcement of the judgment in the UN Security Council.

What makes the pressure on ICC different than in the past, UK journalist Neil Clark told RT recently, is that “interference and attacks are now in the open,” whereas in the past they would be confined to back channels and low-key intrigue.

“You know, it’s the empire with its mask off,” said Clark.

What Happens When the World Opens Its Eyes To the Truth About the American Iraqi War of Aggression?

 To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime.

Neil Clark

Sixteen years on from the start of the illegal US-led invasion of Iraq, further evidence has emerged that the war was planned long before the attack took place and that the stated reason for it, ie ‘Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction’ was bogus.

Speaking before the Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee this week, the former head of the Royal Navy, Admiral The Lord West of Spithead, revealed that he was told in June 2002, ‘that we would be invading Iraq with America at the beginning of the following year’.

“It was quite clear that the Government were thinking we have to get Parliament and others on side. But what was interesting was that as it developed, there was all this stuff on weapons of mass destruction and everything, and it did seem to me that people were looking for a casus belli that they could discuss in Parliament,” Lord West said.

Let’s think back to what we — the public — were actually told in 2002/3.

Bush and Blair and their acolytes repeatedly said that the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein could prevent war by admitting he had WMDs and disarming. As late as 25th February 2003, Blair was saying that ‘even now’ Saddam could avoid war by ‘accepting the UN route to disarmament’ ‘I do not want war’, he told the House of Commons. ‘I do not believe anyone in this House wants war. But disarmament peacefully can only happen with Saddam’s active co-operation.”

READ MORE: 16 Years Later, Legacy of US War in Iraq is Destruction, Lies, Not ‘Misjudgment’

But it’s clear that whatever Saddam did, he and his country were going to be hit with Shock and Awe. The whole charade of weapons inspectors, sent in to search for weapons that were not there, was designed to try and convince people that war was a last resort and not the first option.

Crucially, the invasion had to come before the weapons inspectors finished their job and gave Iraq a clean bill of health- as then the pretext for war would have gone.

Admiral West’s revelations, which follow on from similar comments he made in  2016, are not the only ones we’ve had from Inside the Tent figures about what was really going on in 2002/3.

In his memoir My Life, Our Times, published in November 2017, Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2003, admitted that the Iraq War was ‘not justified’. He also said ‘we were all misled on the existence of WMDs’. According to Brown, a key US intelligence report which not only refuted the claim that Iraq was producing WMDs,  but also their ‘current ability to do so‘, was not seen by the British government. An attempt to pass the buck? You make your own mind up.

READ MORE: Pence Clashes With Iraq War Architect Cheney Over Trump-Obama Comparison

Earlier, the former British Ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, said that President Bush had first asked Tony Blair for his support in a war against Iraq at a private White House dinner just nine days after the 9-11 terror attacks, which had absolutely nothing to do with Iraq.

We also know from the Chilcot Inquiry that on 28th July 2002, Tony Blair sent Bush a memo in which he pledged ‘I will be with you, whatever’. He went on: ‘the military part of this is hazardous but I will concentrate mainly on the political context for success’.

That involved trying to ‘encapsulate our casus belli in some defining way’, with weapons inspections the chosen route. ‘ If he (Saddam) did say yes, we continue the build-up and we send teams over and the moment he obstructs, we say: he’s back to his games. That’s it. In any event, he would probably screw it up and not meet the deadline, and if he came forward after the deadline, we would just refuse to deal.”

As for timing, Blair says ‘we could start building up after the break. A strike date could be Jan/Feb next year’.

Blair continued to scare us witless right up to the launch of the invasion in March 2003 about Saddam’s deadly arsenal. A critical claim, contained in the so-called ‘September Dossier’, was the one that Iraq possessed chemical weapons which could be assembled and launched within 45 minutes.

This led to the infamous ‘Brits 45 minutes from Doom’ headline in Rupert Murdoch’s Sun and similarly terrifying headlines in other newspapers. Yet in 2004, Blair said that he had not realised before the war that the alleged weapons were not missiles but only battlefield munitions.

Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook wrote in the Guardian ‘: ‘I was astonished by his reply as I had been briefed that Saddam’s weapons were only battlefield ones and I could not conceive that the prime minister had been given a different version.’

In July 2003 a Foreign Affairs committee report declared “We conclude that the 45 minutes claim did not warrant the prominence given to it in the dossier, because it was based on intelligence from a single, uncorroborated source.”

It is clear that the Iraq War was a plan hatched by neocon extremists in Washington and lurid claims of Iraqi WMDs, which did not exist, were made to justify it.

READ MORE: Drug War, War Against Iraq: The Legacy of George H.W. Bush

The Nuremberg Judgement of the trial of the WW2 Nazi leaders stated: ‘”War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”.

The Iraq War was clearly a war of aggression, and as such, an example of ‘the supreme international crime’, yet, sixteen years on, no one has been held accountable for it.  That’s in spite of over 1m people losing their lives following the invasion and the war greatly increasing the threat from terrorist groups. Even Tony Blair himself has conceded there were ‘elements of truth’ in the claims that the Iraq War led to the rise of Daesh/IS.

Worse still, the war on Iraq was followed by more aggression against Libya, in 2011, and Syria, wars which like the invasion of Iraq, have helped provoke a refugee crisis of Biblical proportions. Let’s go back to 27th January 1998, more than three and a half years before 9-11.   It was on that date that a letter was sent to President Clinton, on behalf of the neoconservative ‘Project for a New American Century’. The letter called for ‘removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now has to be the aim of American foreign policy’.

READ MORE: Decorated US Navy SEAL Under Investigation for Committing War Crimes in Iraq

Among the signatories to the call to arms were Elliot Abrams and John Bolton. Abrams is now the US special envoy to Venezuela- and seeking regime change in Caracas, while Bolton is President Trump’s National Security Advisor and warning us about Iran’s ‘nuclear weapons program’.

It’s as if the Iraq War never happened.

The views and opinions expressed by the contributor do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66 and @MightyMagyar

Brit Lab Claims Explosives Brought-Down Polish President’s Plane at Smolensk

[British labs leading the charge to war against Russia in Europe.]

TNT FOUND BY UK LAB ON SAMPLES OF PLANE CRASH WRECKAGE THAT KILLED POLISH PRESIDENT

The British Forensic Explosives Laboratory (FEL) at the request of the Polish National Prosecutor’s Office tested samples collected from the TU-154M jet that crashed in Smolensk for traces of explosive materials. According to “Sieci”, which obtained results of these tests, on most of the 200 tested samples substances used to manufacture explosive materials were found.

The authors, Marek Pyza and Marcin Wikło, claim to have obtained information according to which experts from the British Forensic Explosives Laboratory,testing the samples provided by the National Prosecutor’s Office in May 2017, allegedly, confirmed that TNT was present on the wreck of the Tupolev. The Polish Prosecutor’s Office was allegedly informed about this a few weeks ago.

It is a piece of information kept secret by the investigators. We learned that several weeks ago the Polish Prosecutor’s Office had received a letter informing about the partial results of the tests conducted at the Forensic Explosives Laboratory – a unit attached to the British Ministry of Defence specialising in forensic tests related to explosives.“.

As the journalists reported, traces of substances such as TNT used to manufacture explosives have been found on most of the 200 samples of the wreck of Tupolev provided by the Polish side.

According to the authors of the article, the discovery made by the British scientists will have “colossal” importance for the determination of the causes of the tragedy which took place on 10 April 2010. “What kind of impact could the information about traces of TNT and other substances found have on the investigation and the determination of the causes of the disaster? Colossal. It is still too early, however, to formulate any final conclusions. Years ago, definitive resolutions have been attempted in this case despite the fact that evidence undermined them. That is why we should hold off from formulating absolute opinions until all analyses are completed. They stress that once all results are received the prosecutors will interpret them. Maybe further specialist from abroad will be retained just for that purpose. It is a standard practice.”

The first reports of explosive materials on the fragments of Tu-154M were published on 30 October 2012 by “Rzeczpospolita” daily in an article by Cezary Gmyz entitled “TNT on the wreck of Tupolev”. Cezary Gmyz (currently “Do Rzeczy”) wrote that the Polish prosecutors and forensic experts who investigated the wreck of the Tu-154M found traces of explosives: TNT and nitroglycerine. The publication caused a storm in Poland, and heads rolled at the “Rzeczpospolita ” editorial team. The author of the article Cezary Gmyz, Head of the Domestic News Section Mariusz Staniszewski and the Chief Editor Tomasz Wróbleski lost their jobs. Only several years later the court confirmed that the text “TNT on the wreck of Tupolev” was reliable and that the journalists were fired without justified grounds.

Back then, the Military Prosecutor’s Office denied the information. Meanwhile it confirmed that the so-called high-energy substances have been found on the wreck, but these they argued at the time could have just as well been e.g. pesticides.

Wikło and Pyza also noted that the Smolensk investigation will not end soon. “One should expect the investigation to take even several more years. In 2012, we have learned that portable explosive materials detectors have shown the presence of TNT and other explosives on many fragments of the wreck. The Prosecutor’s Office then explained later that these were fallible devices […]. Their manufacturer denied these accusations while stating that the equipment was infallible.”

The journalists also noted discrepancies between the new results and the results of earlier tests of the samples in Poland:

“It is important that the samples sent to the British Forensic Explosives Laboratory are the same as the samples tested in 2013 by the Central Forensic Laboratory of the Polish Police (CLKP). The tests then, it was announced, found no traces of explosives. A clear conclusion can be drawn: the British tests undermine the forensic tests conducted several years ago by CLKP. It is impossible not to ask questions: whether due to the tests conducted in the United Kingdom will someone go back to the “findings” made by CLKP? Will someone answer for obstructing the investigation of the causes of the death of the President of the Republic of Poland and the Polish delegation?”

The authors also reveal that the Prosecutor’s Office has recently signed a contract with a group of foreign experts who worked on known flight disaster cases to assist in the Polish investigation.

Wikło and Pyza stressed that there is a long way between the found traces of explosives and the causes of the disaster. “If the investigation was conducted like that from the start, we would probably already know the answer to the main question: what happened in the morning of 10 April 2010 over Smolensk? Although we stress that is worth waiting for the tests results from all the labs and all the planned analyses, the news that are coming now from the United Kingdom bring us closer to solving the mystery.

On April 10th, 2010 a TU-154M plane crashed in Smolensk (Russia) a 1km short of the runway killing all passengers on board including the Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, former President Ryszard Kaczorowski, the entire general army command, the Chief of the Polish General Staff and other senior Polish military officers, the president of the National Bank of Poland, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, Polish government officials, 15 members of the Polish parliament, senior members of the Polish clergy, and relatives of victims of the Katyn massacre.